The city of Mazatlan had a much bigger city feel than any of our previous stops. Very interesting contrast between rapid growth and decay. In recent years they have worked on restoring the old city in the center of town and we enjoyed exploring there in between rain storms and significant heat.
We loved our setup at Marina El Cid with the “quiet” pool only steps away from our dock. We also had access to the beach club across the channel via the water taxi, but we never went over to check it out. The pool was too inviting.
On the day before the deluge and foot of water, we spent the day in town. We lounged at a square-side cafe where I tried Aguachile – a very spicy shrimp regional dish. The waiter questioned whether I really wanted to have that, but I was determined to try it. I sweated my way through it and downed a ton of water and some beer. It was delicious, although my mouth was on fire for long afterward. I have a recipe for it, which will allow me to dial down the spice level.
We were looking for high-quality crafts and lucked into a wonderful shop where we conversed quite a bit with the owner all in Spanish – he was very patient and had such a clear accent he was easy to understand. After we made some purchases (all beautiful and extremely well-priced and all from Mexican or Central American artisans), he brought out some agave tequila to share.
An excellent stop was the Museum of Anthropology and History. Small but very interesting exhibits from pre-hispanic times – very well-preserved beautiful pottery, and informative texts in both Spanish and English. We were the only visitors that day from the guestbook.
We walked the Malecon, slowly because it was SO hot, and happened to pass some young guys who were cliff-diving. Not in the usual place which is at the other end of the Malecon and much more open, and I was horrified by this tight rocky location. But the kid came up in one piece.
On Thanksgiving, the day of the huge deluge, we were able to go a couple of miles from the marina and meet up with our friend Patrick from Seattle (who we coincidentally discovered was in town) and have a turkey dinner at a local spot. It was fun to see him and Diana, as well as the Mexican families who were out, and get to sing happy birthday in Spanish to a young girl having a family dinner. The family then sent cake around to everyone.
One impact of obvious boom and bust cycles in Mazatlan are the number of abandoned hulks of hotel buildings. In the back of our marina resort, a huge resort relic lined both the street and the beach, while across the street there is new construction. Definitely weird.
On another day we food shopped in the huge covered market. The public market in old town was an almost overwhelming experience. From street food taco stands (excellent) to meat vendors with pig heads inside, it seemed that you could find anything you needed in that place if you looked hard enough.
The shrimp we got from the “shrimp ladies” down the road were yummy. It was interesting that there were many shrimp ladies but it appears the prices are set – it must be a collective of some sort.
On another stormy day we did a dinghy cruise around the rest of the marina area and estuary, which has been developed with many nice houses on canals. Lots of high end homes lined the banks of the canals, much like Florida. There is money here. Not sure if it is expats or Mexican nationals.
On our last night we went into town for dinner and afterward walked the square, which was hopping with locals. We were fortunate to see an impressive performance from the dance troupe that we had seen practicing a few days earlier at the Arts facility. The kids were extremely talented and put on a very tight and exciting performance.